Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has dissociated himself from comments attributed to him concerning the voting pattern of the Igbo in the March 28 presidential election, saying it was a figment of the author’s imagination. The literary icon was reacting to a report published by an online platform which alleged that he accused the Igbo of voting according to their “stomachs”. But Soyinka in a statement he issued in response to the story said:
“I have just read a statement attributed to me on something called The CABLE, a news outlet, evidently one of the Internet infestations. My lecture at the Hutchins Centre, Harvard University, was video recorded. Anyone who believes what I am alleged to have said must be a moron – repeat, a moron. It is demeaning, sickening and boring to have to deal with these cowards who cannot fight their own battles but must fasten their imbecilic pronouncements on others. Only the mentally retarded will credit this comment attributed to me regarding the Ndigbo voting pattern in the last elections. I strongly suspect the author of this despicable concoction, and may make a further statement, once the source is verified.”
In the lecture titled ‘Predicting Nigeria, Electoral Ironies’ at the Harvard University Hutchins Centre for African & African American Research, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, Soyinka had noted that the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan would have been “disastrous”, saying Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president-elect, is better option. He said:
“Muhammadu Buhari was the better of the two evils as the incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan had been an unmitigated disaster and failure,” he said. It was a painful decision to tell people to vote Buhari, but the country needed a new beginning. I was more against Jonathan than I was pro-Buhari”.
“Nothing is more unworthy of leadership than to degrade a system by which one attains fulfillment, and this is what the nation witnessed time and time again under Jonathan, who was increasingly becoming intolerant of opposition in an escalating streak of impunity and authoritarian madness which was most blatant and unconscionable.
“The ‘militricians’ – soldiers turned politicians in power – aren’t looking for excellence; their civilian cohorts are worse. Short cuts and how to circumvent the system for the profit of a few are the norm of governance. Those who do honest work are derided as lacking the skill to fit in. Ironically, things haven’t quite changed a bit after 16 years of democracy in the country.”
Soyinka added that:
“It will not be easy to enthrone democracy as the norm.”